People

  • Michael Graves, FAIA

    1934-2015

    Michael Graves, FAIA

    1934-2015

    Few are credited with spearheading a single design movement; Michael Graves, well known throughout the world for design excellence, led three.

    In the 1980s, Michael redirected the architectural conversation away from abstract modernism toward a more humanistic approach to architecture and urban planning, that among other things, brought color and art back into the experience of architecture. In the 1990s, his partnership with Target defined America’s expectation that great design should be available to everyone. And design became a corporate strategy. Over the past decade, Michael became a passionate advocate for the disabled and used the power of design to improve healthcare experiences for patients, families and clinicians. Michael Graves transformed the role of the architect in society and left the world a better place than he found it.

    Michael Graves received prestigious awards including the 2015 National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement, the AIA Gold Medal, the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton, The Richard H. Driehaus Prize, and the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. The Center for Health Design named Michael Graves one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Healthcare Design, and in 2013, President Obama appointed Graves to the United States Access Board. Michael Graves was the first architect to be inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and the first recipient of the Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Jersey AIA.

    A native of Indianapolis, Graves received his architectural training at the University of Cincinnati and Harvard University. In 1960, he won the Rome Prize and studied for two years at the American Academy in Rome, of which he became a Trustee. In 1962, Graves began a 39-year teaching career at Princeton University, where he was the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture. Graves received 14 honorary doctorates and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

    Link to the Michael Graves Memorial Page

  • Thomas P. Rowe, AIA

    Principal, Architecture

    Thomas P. Rowe, AIA

    Principal, Architecture

    With the firm since 1984, Tom Rowe’s experience encompasses from small, focused interventions within existing facilities to large-scale, free-standing buildings. Tom excels at integrating complex program requirements and designs buildings tailored to the needs and cultures of his clients. Guided by an understanding that each project, regardless of its size, is an opportunity to improve efficiencies, Tom develops long-term client relationships and has earned national awards for design excellence. With extensive experience in civic and academic architecture, Tom is member of the U.S. Courthouse Access Advisory Committee.

    Education:

    • Princeton University, Master of Architecture
    • Catholic University, Washington, D.C, Bachelor of Science, Architecture
  • Patrick Burke, AIA

    Principal, Architecture

    Patrick Burke, AIA

    Principal, Architecture

    With the firm since 1982, Patrick Burke has been the lead designer for projects ranging from master plans for eco-sensitive resort developments to building designs that uniquely reflect both the identity and cultural character of the local environment. Recently, Patrick has been the Principal-in-Charge of Resorts World at Sentosa, a $4.4 billion integrated resort in Singapore. In addition to hotels and resorts, Patrick has extensive experience planning and designing high profile museums and other institutional, civic and corporate buildings. Currently, Patrick is developing master plans for several large scale projects in China.

    Education:

    • Princeton University, Master of Architecture
    • University of Illinois, Bachelor of Architecture, Honors in Architectural Design
    • Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts, Traveling Fellowship
  • Karen Nichols, FAIA

    Principal, Architecture

    Karen Nichols, FAIA

    Principal, Architecture

    With the firm since 1977, Karen Nichols has been an integral member of multiple project teams. She was the Principal-in-Charge for the renovation and expansion of The Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey, the master plan of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2003, Karen was elevated to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the practice of architecture. Karen sits on the NJIT School of Architecture Board of Visitors. She has designed more than 35 exhibitions, and has edited seven monographs on the work of the firm.

    Education:

    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Master of Architecture
    • Smith College, Bachelor of Arts, Art History
    • Albertina Museum, Vienna, Summer Program
  • Donald Strum, IDSA

    Principal, Product Design

    Donald Strum, IDSA

    Principal, Product Design

    With the firm since 1984, Donald Strum is the Principal in charge of product, furniture, and graphic design and has played a key role in the development and the success of the firm’s product design practice. His first project for the firm was the now ubiquitous “Whistling Bird Teakettle” for the Italian manufacturer, Alessi. In 1997, under the leadership of Mr. Strum, the firm began a relationship with Target Stores that led to what many in the critical press have hailed as “the democratization of design”. In 2005, after witnessing firsthand the issues Michael Graves was experiencing with an illness that left him paralyzed, Mr. Strum and the product design group made a commitment to transform healthcare design services for the aging and physically disabled population, as well as for the people who care for them. Mr. Strum and his product design group have brought over 2,000 consumer products to market over the past three decades.

    Education:

    • Parsons School of Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Industrial Design
  • Linda Kinsey

    Principal, Marketing and Business Development

    Linda Kinsey

    Principal, Marketing and Business Development

    With the firm since 1987, Linda Kinsey, along with Design Principal Donald Strum, led the team that developed the Michael Graves Design® brand for Target Stores. Under their leadership, the firm has brought to market more than 2,000 consumer products for a wide range of clients including Dansk, Delta Faucet, Baldinger Architectural Lighting and Steuben Glass. Kinsey supervises day-to-day administrative functions for the product design team, creates business development strategies and, with Donald Strum, works directly with the firm’s clientele consisting of manufacturers, distributors, retailers and marketers to ensure that the all products are made well, marketed creatively, and fulfill the company’s mission of “making the ordinary extraordinary.”

    Education:

    • Loyola University, Bachelor of Arts, English
  • Ben Wintner

    Principal, Marketing and Business Development

    Ben Wintner

    Principal, Marketing and Business Development

    Since joining the firm in 2002, Ben Wintner has been part of the leadership team responsible for general management of Michael Graves Architecture & Design’s multidisciplinary practice. Wintner focuses on strategy, brand management, and growth. He has played a critical role in the development and implementation of the firm’s healthcare design strategy, which was driven by Michael Graves’ personal health crisis and subsequent passion for patient centered healthcare design. Wintner develops and manages relationships with MGA&D’s partners and is integral to the strategy development of these relationships.

    Education:

    • Columbia University, Master of Business Administration
    • University of Michigan, Bachelor of Arts, Organizational Studies
    • Institute for Social and International Studies, Barcelona, Spain
  • Rob Van Varick

    Principal, Product Design

    Rob Van Varick

    Principal, Product Design

    With the firm since 2003, Rob Van Varick leads the firm’s product design teams through the research, concept, development and design process. He uses an integrated multidisciplinary approach to product design focusing on enhancing the human experience at every scale – from the built environment to the objects in a room. His mission is to provide clients around the globe with innovative design solutions that are functional, sustainable, sensitive and beautiful. His work ranges from functionally driven industrial products to beautifully designed product for the contemporary home.

    Education:

    • Rhode Island School of Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Industrial Design
    • RISD Inside Milan, Six week summer studies for Industrial Design
  • Kathy Dy

    Senior Associate, Project Architect

    Kathy Dy

    Senior Associate, Project Architect

    Joining the firm in 1997 as an architectural intern, Kathy quickly became an integral part of the firm and has offers expertise in K – 12 and Higher Education. A Senior Associate, Kathy is experienced in all phases of a project, from surveying and programming to construction administration and punch-list development. Kathy has contributed to the successful completion of buildings for private clients and public institutions, including three schools for the New York City School Construction Authority. She also has residential experience, including the design of two high-rise residential towers in New York City.

    Education:

    • Rice University, Bachelor of Art and Architecture
  • James Wisniewski, AIA, LEED AP

    Senior Associate Director of Architecture

    James Wisniewski, AIA, LEED AP

    Senior Associate Director of Architecture

    Joining the firm in 2001, James Wisniewski offers experience designing for private, not-for-profit and public sector clients. His ability to work with stakeholders at all levels of a project and translate their needs and goals to his teams and eventually into physical space makes him an integral part of any project team. Although often tasked with the pragmatic role of project manager, James is also focused on the intangible elements of design and space planning that elevate a project from simply being a space or building to becoming a transformative piece of architecture. As a LEED Accredited Professional, James infuses sustainable design into each step of the design process.

    Education:

    • Syracuse University, Bachelor of Architecture
  • Matt Ligas, AIA, LEED AP

    Senior Associate Director of Architecture

    Matt Ligas, AIA, LEED AP

    Senior Associate Director of Architecture

    Joining the firm in 2001, Matt’s deep understanding of all aspects of project design and delivery, combined with a “roll-up-his-sleeves attitude,” allows him to excel in managing teams through the dynamic process of design and construction. He enjoys collaborating with each of his clients to ensure their organization’s values, business goals and project expectations are achieved. In addition to leading project teams, Matt’s expertise in digital media, CAD and BIM has been instrumental in establishing drawing standards that allow the firm to work internationally with a broad range of consultants.

    Education:

    • University of Miami, Bachelor of Architecture
  • Robert Blaser, AIA

    Senior Associate Director of Architecture

    Robert Blaser, AIA

    Senior Associate Director of Architecture

    Joining the firm in 1998 with degrees in both architecture and engineering, Robert Blaser brings a unique perspective to each of his projects. Having worked on many of the firm’s overseas projects, as project manager and architect, Robert ensures that each project remains on time and on budget by enforcing project deadlines, coordinating communications between all parties, and rigorously tracking project costs. His hands-on involvement runs from schematic design through completion of construction and post-occupancy.

    Education:

    • University of Maryland, Master of Architecture
    • Bucknell University, Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering
  • Joe Furey

    Principal, Chief Financial Officer

    Joe Furey

    Principal, Chief Financial Officer

    Joe Furey joined MGA&D in 2008 with close to 20 years of experience in various roles in the services industry. As Chief Financial Officer, Joe is responsible for the business management and works closely with Michael Graves and the firm’s Principals in setting the strategic direction of the company. Prior to joining MGA&D, Joe held several leadership roles in financial operations with Computer Sciences Corporation. Prior to joining CSC, Joe held various roles with increasing responsibility at Solomon Smith Barney, Tradition Government Securities and Volume Services. With three young boys, Joe enjoys coaching Pop Warner football and serves on several boards in his community.

    Education:

    • Marist College, Bachelor of Science
  • Yuka Midorikawa

    Director of Product Design

    Yuka Midorikawa

    Director of Product Design

    Joining the firm in 1999, Yuka manages the firm’s product design teams. Having worked on numerous projects ranging from durable medical equipment to furniture to housewares, Yuka interfaces closely with the graphics group .  Born and raised in Japan, she learned traditional furniture making in Hokkaido and came to the United States to study industrial design. Her goal is to provide design solutions to clients and improve user accessibilities and experiences through field research and concept generation.

    Education:

    • Rhode Island School of Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Industrial Design
  • Peter Neilson Hague, AIA, LEED AP

    Senior Associate Project Architect

    Peter Neilson Hague, AIA, LEED AP

    Senior Associate Project Architect

    Joining the firm in 1983, Peter has overseen the technical development of dozens of complex projects encompassing numerous building types and both new construction and the adaptive re-use and restoration of historic structures. He is particularly skilled at working out complex design and technical problems. In addition to his own proficiency in technical design and construction documents, he has significant experience working with local architects to ensure that the designs produced in the early phases are executed faithfully in the final documents and construction phase.

    Education:

    • Carnegie-Mellon University, Bachelor of Architecture
  • Vijay Chakravarthy

    Senior Product Designer

    Vijay Chakravarthy

    Senior Product Designer

    Vijay Chakravarthy joined MGA&D in 2014 as a Senior Product Designer. Leading the firm’s’ Design-Research initiatives, Vijay ensures that the ‘human’ is at the center of all MGA&D’s work. A thought leader and avid traveler, a deep-rooted fascination with people, technology and impactful experiences inspires his approach towards design. Vijay’s award winning work has been exhibited at the Spark Exhibit, Autodesk Design Gallery in San Francisco, Guandong Design Week 2013 and the AutoExpo India in 2008 and 2010. His prior experience includes working with manufacturers and design consultancies on projects ranging from brand research and product design to healthcare, digital sculpting and transport design. His knowledge and appreciation of international cultures and values was strongly influenced by having worked and studied in Australia, Italy, India and the United States.

    Education:

    • University of New South Wales, Australia, Bachelor of Arts, Industrial Design
    • Savannah College of Art and Design, Master of Industrial Design
  • Jessica Hurwit

    Senior Product Designer

    Jessica Hurwit

    Senior Product Designer

    After receiving her BID from Syracuse University, Jessica gained a diverse range of experience in design from point of purchase displays to consumer goods before joining the product design team at MGA&D in 2013. She has been predominantly involved in the development of projects in healthcare that the firm has recently begun working on, and is excited to be contributing to this work that she believes will have a profound, positive impact on both the design and healthcare industries.

    Education:

    • Syracuse University, BID
  • Dounia Loeper

    Senior Graphic Designer

    Dounia Loeper

    Senior Graphic Designer

    Dounia Tamri-Loeper joined MGA&D in 2011 and has a passion for developing strong brand identities. Keeping abreast of the latest typography and color trends, Dounia has led the creative team that developed the new MGA&D brand as well as the identity package for the EVO Oil Sprayer, winner of the How Design award. Originally from Morocco, Dounia is trilingual, speaking fluent English, French and Arabic.  An advocate for early childhood education, Dounia is on the board of a non-profit organization that provides educational learning opportunities for disadvantaged youth.

    Education:

    • Drexel University, Bachelors of Science, Graphic Design
  • Katherine Meeker-Cohen, Assoc. AIA

    Director of Business Development

    Katherine Meeker-Cohen, Assoc. AIA

    Director of Business Development

    For 16 years, Katherine Meeker-Cohen has been building connections, working with international design firms to create opportunities for innovative design.  Katherine has earned a reputation for forming successful relationships with high profile cultural, academic and healthcare institutions that become clients.  She has served on boards of several non-profit organizations, been a jurist for the Communications Awards given by the Society of Marketing Professionals and a speaker at the first Marketing Even held by SMPS NY.  She has written about design firm transition for SMPS Marketer and other publications.  Her persistence and talent is instrumental in locating opportunities for MGA&D to showcase their work throughout the world.

    Education:

    • Abilene Christian University, Bachelor of Arts, English and History
    • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, M.Ed., Counseling
    • Columbia University School of Journalism, Graduate Work
    • University of Texas-Austin, Graduate Work
  • Salvatore Forgione

    Manager of Marketing Communications

    Salvatore Forgione

    Manager of Marketing Communications

    Sal joined MGA&D in 2012. For Sal, creativity is a way of life. As Marketing Communications Manager with the firm, he illustrates key institutional concepts through the use of dynamic language in an expressive style to convey design ideas for project pursuits across the firm’s disciplines. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts he has also contributed to many of the firm’s signature projects including textile design for CF Stinson and branding/identity for the Michael Graves Collection for JCPenney. Sal has also provided wayfinding and signage design for several of the firm’s healthcare clients.

    Education:

    • Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, Bachelors of Fine Art
  • Julie Yurasek

    Director of Interior Design

    Julie Yurasek

    Director of Interior Design

    Julie Yurasek brings over 15 years of experience designing the interiors of hotels, spas, restaurants and offices. At MGA&D, Julie has been responsible for leading interior design teams on several large hospitality and residential projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Her designs evolve from truly listening to each client’s needs, a vast knowledge of materials and industry products, and her inspiration to create unique and memorable environments. Prior to joining MGA&D in 2005, she was an Associate at Rockwell Group and designer at Skidmore Owings and Merrill in New York. Julie has a Bachelors of Architecture and BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and additionally studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Architecture and Syracuse University.

    Education:

    • Rhode Island School of Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts
    • Rhode Island School of Design, Bachelor of Architecture
    • Edinburgh College of Arts and Architecture, International Study
    • Syracuse University
  • Megan Luce

    Senior Interior Designer

    Megan Luce

    Senior Interior Designer

    Joining Michael Graves Architecture & Design in 2007, I bring over 13 years of experience in the design of office spaces, hotels, restaurants and residences and has worked on several of the firm’s signature hospitality projects, including the Nile Corniche and Sentosa World Resorts in Singapore. I design with the goal of integrating interiors into the architecture of the building to create seamless and unique solutions. Recognizing the importance of sustainable design, I believe that carrying the vision of the client through all the stages of design is critical and that a successful design solution is defined by the integration of sustainable concepts with cost effective and beautiful design solutions. I work closely with associate architects and consultants located overseas throughout the design and construction process.

    Education:

    • Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Dodie Colavecchio

    Senior Model Maker

    Dodie Colavecchio

    Senior Model Maker

    Joining the firm in 1996 as a member of the Marketing Department, Dodie soon found her home in the model shop. She has had the opportunity to work with all of MGA&D’s disciplines producing a range of architectural and product models: from quick massing mockups to fully detailed presentation models. Dodie has had the pleasure of working directly with Michael Graves on numerous special projects including producing his artwork for several medals and medallions commissioned by longtime clients.

    Education:

    • Princeton University, Bachelor of Arts, Architectural History & Theory
  • Bill Yeung, AIA

    Project Architect

    Bill Yeung, AIA

    Project Architect

    Since joining the firm in 2012, Bill Yeung has been an integral team member of several domestic and international projects. Projects of note that Yeung has worked on include the Statue of Unity destination resort master plan in Gujarat, India, the mixed-use 285,000 square meter development in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the campus master plan and multi-phase renovation and expansion of existing campus facilities at Don Bosco Preparatory school in Ramsey, New Jersey. He collaborates with clients and consultants to ensure project delivery goals are met and that the design exceeds client expectations. Bill’s interest and expertise in BIM and visualization continually engage clients through all phases of the design process while upholding the humanistic vision and values of the firm.

    Education:

    • Boston Architectural College, Master of Architecture
    • University of British Columbia, Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
  • Matt Schmitt

    Senior Product Designer

    Matt Schmitt

    Senior Product Designer

    Matt Schmitt has been a part of the MGA&D team since 2010.  As a Senior Product Designer, Matt works with a variety of clients to enhance the lives of the people who use our products.  Matt’s work focuses on human interaction and relies extensively on design research to drive innovative ideas. Matt fluidly blends a solid research and design process with creativity to find intuitive solutions to problems that have not yet been solved.  Matt also plays a key role during the manufacturing process, managing the evolution of a product to hit key business goals and maintain the original design intent in the final product.

Our Office in Princeton, NJ


Princeton, NJ

341 Nassau Street
Princeton, NJ 08540

T: 609.924.6409
T: 800.927.6409
F: 609.497.0700

Our Office in New York, NY


New York, NY

18 West 21st Street
Suite 902
New York, NY 10010

T: 212.941.5890
F: 646.360.3925

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